Arsene Wenger believes the Premier League title race could be an easier prospect this season despite the extra amount of challengers.
At least six clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham and defending champions Leicester City – are in the hunt for Premier League glory this season.
However, despite the large field of contenders in 2016-17, Wenger said it could play into Arsenal’s hands.
“Never before [have so many teams been in the title race], but that can make it easier as well,” the Frenchman said ahead of Sunday’s league opener at home to Liverpool.
“Everybody can drop points, and there can’t be one team that just walks away and that nobody can catch.
“The hope will be alive in the Premier League for everybody maybe longer than ever. On that front, if you’re consistent it can be easier.”
Both Manchester clubs have new managers, with Pep Guardiola taking over at City and Jose Mourinho at United, while Antonio Conte has taken charge at Chelsea.
While all three have an abundance of title-winning experience, Wenger said it could take some time for them to adapt at their respective clubs.
“You don’t know. For example, Guardiola has come in, he’s a world-class manager, Mourinho has come in at Man United. Will that all click very quickly or will it take some time? We don’t know,” he said.
“Sometimes it works marvellously very quickly, sometimes it takes time. I hope it will take time, and that we can take advantage of the fact that we have stability.”
Wenger has made just three signings this off-season, which included a big-money deal for Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach – the second most expensive transfer in Arsenal history.
However, that fee has been dwarfed by the moves of Paul Pogba to United (£89m) and Gonzalo Higuain to Juventus (£75m), and Wenger believes it will not be long before we see transfers in excess of £200m.
“I have said that since I have been in the game at some point it has to stop, but as long as football continues to develop and become more popular more money will come in,” he said.
“What is interesting to see is that today, you have a local business and you just want to survive or you have a world business and the money comes in, whether it is Google, Facebook, football or any other sport, they are worldwide so you can’t set any limitations in the income.
“If football continues to be popular it may become much higher in the future.”